Local tourism sags as national and global travel surges

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From the beaches to the mountains to an overseas trip, people are still booking vacations that they may have put off through the COVID-19 pandemic and until they got their work lives and their family lives back in order. According to a new survey from Booking.com, the big picture on travel looks like this 86% of people say they are spending the same or more on travel as last year, 73% are more enthusiastic about traveling, and 55% say this year, they’re after more “off the grid” or “chill” destinations. The most-searched destinations internationally are Paris, London, Barcelona, Rome, and Dubai. Domestically? New York, Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach. While things may be looking up in other parts of the country, and maybe even other destinations in Florida, right here in central Florida, we’ve seen a drop this summer. “People can’t afford to take nice trips all of the time,” said Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond. He believes travel to the region has cooled this summer compared to last, and he has the evidence to back it up. April Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections are down 3.5%, and in May, down 6.7% compared to those same months a year ago. June is also projected to see a decline, according to Diamond. That two-month decline amounted to a drop of nearly $13 million in the taxes collected on hotel and motel stays.“I think part of it is the fact that last year was so good, and this year there are more options for people to travel to, or maybe people traveled to Orlando last year, and they may want to travel to someplace different this year,” Diamond said. The drop comes just as the county is considering investing $3 billion in future collections to expand the convention center, add a roof to Camping World Stadium, and upgrade the Amway Center and Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, among other projects. The change in destinations is helping one area of Central Florida: Port Canaveral. Bookings this year are projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels.

From the beaches to the mountains to an overseas trip, people are still booking vacations that they may have put off through the COVID-19 pandemic and until they got their work lives and their family lives back in order.

According to a new survey from Booking.com, the big picture on travel looks like this 86% of people say they are spending the same or more on travel as last year, 73% are more enthusiastic about traveling, and 55% say this year, they’re after more “off the grid” or “chill” destinations.

The most-searched destinations internationally are Paris, London, Barcelona, Rome, and Dubai. Domestically? New York, Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach.

While things may be looking up in other parts of the country, and maybe even other destinations in Florida, right here in central Florida, we’ve seen a drop this summer.

“People can’t afford to take nice trips all of the time,” said Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond.

He believes travel to the region has cooled this summer compared to last, and he has the evidence to back it up.

April Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections are down 3.5%, and in May, down 6.7% compared to those same months a year ago. June is also projected to see a decline, according to Diamond.

That two-month decline amounted to a drop of nearly $13 million in the taxes collected on hotel and motel stays.

“I think part of it is the fact that last year was so good, and this year there are more options for people to travel to, or maybe people traveled to Orlando last year, and they may want to travel to someplace different this year,” Diamond said.

The drop comes just as the county is considering investing $3 billion in future collections to expand the convention center, add a roof to Camping World Stadium, and upgrade the Amway Center and Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, among other projects.

The change in destinations is helping one area of Central Florida: Port Canaveral. Bookings this year are projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels.

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